Gameplay Mechanic a Month: Conversation Editing
Month 7 - July 2013
In this month's gameplay mechanic, you can choose which options characters say in their speech bubbles, ie edit their conversations and instantly see the result of the entire conversation.
The player is presented with a comic book style page where two characters are talking. You take it in turns to play as each of the characters. You are only able to edit the speech bubbles of the character you are playing, so you can only change half of the conversation on any turn.
In each editable speech bubble there are 2-3 options. Once you choose an option, the comic book will change to show the results, which may mean that the two characters can talk for a bit longer and not end up in awkward silences. Keep going back and forth until the conversation reaches a point that you are happy with it.
Playable in the following game:
Interactive Graphic Novel
The game was made for Molyjam 2013 and is based on the Peter Molyneux quote: "I wish I had some time machine and could go back two weeks. You live by your mistakes, for sure."
Two time travellers, Sofia and Rajar, met at a Doctor Who convention and decided to go on a first date. Sofia subscribes to the vehicle-based mode of time travel (as seen in "Back to the Future"), while Rajar subscribes to the closed-loop model (as seen in "Hot Tub Time Machine"). Their first date didn't go as planned, since they argued over everything from time travel theory to who pays the bill.
Two weeks later, both of them decide that they can help the date go more smoothly. Help each of them travel back in time to attempt to fix what went wrong so they are not alone in the present. Can you help these two scientists see eye to eye and live happily ever after?
The game was featured on a number of sites:
On the start screen you can choose whether to start playing as Sofia or Rajar.
A comic with the mini backstory.
You can read through the date as a comic. Several scenes happen where the characters have different topics of conversation.
Both characters seem to be saying all the wrong things and not getting anywhere.
When playing as Sofia you can help her choose more appropriate topics.
When playing as Rajar you can select what he says.
Go to the website and begin by choosing whether to play as Rajar or Sofia.
This month to play the game you simply go to backtothefirstdate.com. You can also see the game on the Molyjam 2013 website. If you would like to access the code and make your own game, you can get it from GitHub.
This month I worked with a number of other people in a team to create this game during 48 hours for Molyjam 2013:
An analysis of the gameplay mechanic written by me in March 2015.
Context: I created this game for a game jam with a friend who was working at Telltale Games. Based on some social conversations she’d had with colleagues, she wanted to experiment to see if we could do a game with storytelling that was a multiplayer game. We realised that was beyond the scope of a game jam game. The final game was envisioned as a pass ‘n’ play game, but ended up working perfectly fine as a one player experience as well.
What Went Right:
What Went Wrong:
Hug Rating:4 hugs
Verdict: Neat idea and well executed. This might be something you could put inside a larger game as a little mini game, but probably doesn’t scale particularly well for longer games. Also, justifying the core mechanic with a different fiction may or may not work as well as time travel.